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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015

When is a law not a law

A Mind of My Own


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There are numerous organizations throughout the country that pass laws for their various jurisdictions such as Congress for the country, state legislatures for individual states, cities for their localities and, counties for their districts. In each case, these laws must be obeyed by individuals or organizations in those areas or they suffer the consequences. That no longer seems to be true.

On Tuesday, the administration announced that it was delaying the cap on out-of-pocket medical costs for individuals until next year. One part of Obamacare was the Consumer Cost Protection clause, which placed a cap of $6,325 for individuals to pay out of pocket per year for medical care.

The insurance companies would have to eat any costs beyond that. That may sound great, but when costs increase, businesses pass the increase on to their customers.

Every insurance company in the business would be in the same position, so everyone who had an insurance policy would see their premiums increase. Those increases would occur just before the midterm elections in November of next year. That would make the current administration and its members of Congress look especially bad prior to the elections. Thus, allowing those with chronic medical problems face huge increases sounded better for the administration than having everyone's premiums increase before the elections. Pure politics!

Last week, the president was instrumental in having the Office of Personnel Management state that it would pay up to 75 percent of the insurance costs for Congress and its staff. Under Obamacare, Congress and its staff were subject to the insurance exchanges like everyone else rather than their current Federal Employees Health Benefits Program where 75 percent of their costs are paid by the taxpayers. Congress was complaining that they and their staffs could not afford the huge increases in insurance premiums expected from Obamacare.

During the past four and a half years, we have seen many examples of the president and his Cabinet officers changing the effect of laws. The Justice Department unilaterally decided to not prosecute violators of the Defense of Marriage Act. The president instructed the Justice Department not to prosecute any illegal aliens who came here as children. The Justice Department now plans to reduce mandatory sentences for drug offenders because of prison overcrowding.

These are some of the examples of what must be referred to as our Imperial Presidency. Congress makes laws and the executive branch does not have the authority to ignore, change, or create new meaning. If this continues, then what do any of our laws mean if the executive can do what he desires and there are no consequences to his actions? Our Constitution must be followed or amendments made to it as prescribed by the Constitution.

Donald J. Myers a retired colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, is a regular columnist for Hernando Today. He lives in Spring Hill and can be contacted at dmyers

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